Canada is a hotbed for tech talent, but the country is slow to adopt new technologies, especially in the enterprise space, says ServiceNow’s Canada country manager.

“We do have a lot of customers in Canada today. A lot of them are in IT, and I would say the Canadian market is still a fast follow market, maybe even lagging in some areas,” Marcus LeCuyer told ITWC after ServiceNow’s Knowledge 2018 event in Las Vegas earlier this month. “The user conference saw an uptake in attendance from Canada go up 50 per cent year-over-year. Canadian businesses are interested in what ServiceNow is doing, and how other customers are using our platform. Everyone has this mandate now with digital transformation.”

Enterprise leaders are increasingly aware of the need to automate and simplify the workplace, but they’re not always sure how to do that, said LeCuyer.

“In the Canadian market, the visioning is there in major enterprises, but they haven’t delivered the digital technology to really align that vision,” he explained

IDC Canada and SAP Canada’s second annual digital transformation report last year reflected this. Out of the 300 Canadian executives surveyed, SAP found that only about four out of 10 are enacting these digital transformation practices. The rest are still in the planning stages. But now, there’s a much greater sense of urgency among enterprise leaders, said LeCuyer, and CIOs are carrying a lot more weight as a result.

“The CIO is playing a huge role now,” he said. “As always, they are there to make the selection of technologies result in easier workflows and better experiences for the employees, but now they’re also at the forefront of many more decisions. The boards are asking CIOs to step up. It’s actually an exciting time ahead for our Canadian CIOs.”

ServiceNow has also hit the refresh button on its branding. It was outlined by the company’s CEO John Donahoe – “We make the world of work, work better for people.” It’s a message that is resonating with Canadian customers, said LeCuyer, especially when it comes to human resources. LeCuyer said in the next three years, 48 per cent of companies will use platform models, such as ServiceNow’s Employee Service Center, to improve its HR departments. That’s up from 14 per cent today.

“We’ll see them automate a larger percentage of tasks, including career planning, continued learning, retention, benefits management, and recruitment and payroll,” he said. “The most effective HR leaders see different links between the broader use of advanced tech … and they’re the ones winning the war on talent.”

With large companies such as Google and Amazon betting big on Canada, the talent pool is becoming increasingly difficult for other businesses to tap into, especially banks, telcos and insurance companies.

“Foundationally these are the organizations that run our economy at scale and they’re having trouble finding the top talent. These teams are having to evolve and we’re definitely seeing this happen in the Canadian marketplace in real time,” he said.

ServiceNow’s new Virtual Agent processing an order for a new laptop. Submitted.

Virtual Agent going to be ‘one of the coolest’ tools to come out

A new conversational bot technology platform named “Virtual Agent” will likely become a popular tool in most businesses when it comes out in Canada in Q3, said LeCuyer.

Virtual Agent will manage employee or customer requests from start to finish, and will be powered by ServiceNow’s platform‑as‑a‑service, Now Platform. It will also have integration with Microsoft Teams, Slack and ServiceNow chat clients.



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